Learning Cairo’s thousand-year history was a requirement at my alma mater, and it was usually taught with a resigned sigh, as if to admit, Al-Qahirah, “the city victorious” had always seen better days. Our professors at the American University of Cairo all seemed to mourn a place we would never know—a city of glamour and glory. But the secret of Cairo is that every generation mourns its brighter days, though in truth, more things stay the same than ever change. This might be why every few decades,